Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 10th February 2016

1) Events, Dear Boy, Events

Quite a few events for your diaries:

#HEARTUNIONS Week, University of Bristol Big Workplace Meeting, TODAY and Tomorrow, 12:00-14:00, Outside Senate House

Organised by our UoB Unison comrades, part of the national TUC #HEARTUNIONS week of events celebrating the great work done by trade union reps and members, come along and meet your campus TU reps outside Senate House.

South West UCU Black Members’ Network Inaugural Meeting, TODAY, 18:00-20:00. G5, Arts Complex, Woodland Rd

If you are interested in attending, please contact or SW chair Josie Gill,

Meet UCU for Lunch, Monday 22 February 2016, 12 noon – 1.30 pm, 7G1, 7 Priory Road

Members and non-members are all welcome at this lunch-time, drop-in event. Come find out more about what UCU does and what the union can do for you.

Lunch including wine and soft drinks will be available.

Please sign up at:

South West HE Sector Meeting Wednesday, 9th March, 14:00-16:00, Old School Rooms, Stoke Gifford, Bristol

Bristol hosts the HE Sector Meeting for all members in the South West. 2 minute walk from Bristol Parkway Station; travel costs reimbursed.

If you’d like to attend, email

2) The Prevent Duty at the University of Bristol

Wondering what’s in the pipeline as regards the Prevent Duty – changes to organising an event with an external speaker, for example?

Bristol UCU blogs on ‘The Prevent Duty at the University of Bristol

3) Rate Your Job – New Online Tool

Rate for the job is UCU’s new online tool to enable you to find out more about your pay.

Create a report based on your own salary. Compare with other staff at Bristol and other workplaces. Find out how much pay you have lost in recent years:

After six years of low pay settlements, we think it is time for a debate about what constitutes fair pay for staff in our universities.

4) Elections to UCU’s National Executive Committee – VOTE TODAY

The ballot is now open; ballot papers are now in pigeons holes and on doormats.

UCU’s National Executive Committee is responsible for conducting the union’s business between congress meetings. In other words, it determines day-to-day policy. Want a shift in national policy? Vote for your NEC members.

For a full list of candidates and manifestos, UCU has a page of the positions up for grabs, and the UCU members vying for them:

You might also be interested in the two main ‘slates’ in this election: UCU Left’s ‘UCU Vice President and NEC elections’ and the Independent Broad Left’s ‘NEC Elections 2016: A team to take our union forward

Ballots opened on Monday 1 February 2016 and close at noon on Friday 26 February.

5) USS and Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC)

Paid into AVCs to increase your USS pension benefits?

Members with AVC contracts will be aware of the significant changes due to come into effect later this year in April.

Since AVC agreements are individual contracts between a USS member and the trustee, there may be circumstances in which a member may wish to bring a complaint against the trustee.

UCU has prepared guidance on how to do so.

6) Bristol UCU TEF Motions – UCU Congress 2016

Following our successful From REF to TEF event, one option on the table is a motion to UCU Congress in June, calling on UCU to oppose TEF and the other policies floated in the Green Paper.

In terms of national deadlines, all motions must be submitted by the deadline of 12 noon on Wednesday 6 April 2016. In terms of branch deadlines, that would mean a debate on and approval of branch-sponsored motions at our Annual General Meeting on 11th May.

7) Stress in Academia and the Bristol UCU Workload & Well-Being Survey

Stress is a major issue in our workplaces and universities, as employers’ studies and UCU studies have shown.

Last summer a meta-analysis of 25 research studies (involving over half a million individuals) found that working excessive hours is associated with a 33% increase in the likelihood of having a stroke.

The response from employers has been mixed. ‘For many employers,’ Hugh Robertson, Senior Policy Officer for Health and Safety at the TUC explains, ‘stress is not considered to be a prevention issue like chemicals or musculosketel disorders (MSDs). When employers talk about tackling stress nowadays they see it as being a “well being” initiative, not a health and safety one’.

In this respect, the University of Bristol’s stress management policy is somewhat paradigmatic. Stress is taken very seriously at Bristol – Staff Counselling Service; Occupational Health Service; Work and Family Initiative; Staff networks, Acceptable Behaviour in the Workplace policy – but the focus is on post hoc as opposed to ‘before the event’.

A preliminary ‘snapshot’ of our Bristol UCU Workload & Well-Being Survey is on our Bristol UCU blog.

8) Bristol UCU Feb 2016 Newsletter

Our Bristol UCU Spring Newsletter is now available:

Targeted at professional service staff, and with our Meet UCU for Lunch, Monday 22 February 2016, 12 noon – 1.30 pm, 7G1, 7 Priory Road event centre-stage.